Mechanical Bird are a great, low-key Danish act who fall under the radar far too easily, despite my admiration of them in the past. They released a new EP back in late October, yet here I am only now just getting around to talking about it. January is supposed to be a quiet month, but no, I keep finding myself buried in more and more work, getting further behind. Anyhow, "Eternity and such" is a highlight of said EP, anchored by gently plucked banjo and metaphysical queries. The first note of the vocals always has me thinking that they'll go into some Simon & Garfunkel-style harmonies, but when the chorus actually does come in, the gentle female backing vox (by Sarah Hepburn?) give it a different feeling entirely, something a bit more twee. Otherwise, the song builds with a subtle kitchen sink approach, layering in additional little oddities with every iteration until the gathered multitudes applaud themselves at the end. Low-key for sure, but not worth passing up entirely.
The excellent lofi Danish indie/twang act Mechanical Bird (aka Jakob Brixen) has a new EP called "Daughter of the wind" available via and two tracks from it can be previewed at Bandcamp: http://mechanicalbird.bandcamp.com/album/daughter-of-the-wind
Guests on said EP include friends such as Jonas Petersen (Hymns from Nineveh) and Andreas Brixen (Bodebrixen), among others.
Jonas Pertersen aka Hymns from Nineveh is currently recording his full-length debut (and additional Christmas EP) together with Aske Bode from Bodebrixen and is keeping a blog as he goes: http://hymnsfromnineveh.wordpress.com/
It appears that Jakob Brixen from excellent fellow Danish act Mechanical Bird stopped by the other day to lay down some banjo and saw -- sounds good to me!
Here's the playlist for this week's radio show Sirius XMU:
01. Saralunden - Les mains d'un autre
02. TALK 1
03. Agent Side Grinder - The screams
04. Victims - Victims in blood #5
05. The Garlands - Freedom
06. Livaventura - Keep on driving
07. TALK 2
08. Anna Ternheim - Better be
09. NEI - City of gold
10. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - Lost & losing
11. TALK 3
12. A Camp - Golden teeth and silver medals
13. Leif Jordansson - Mellan drömmar och bränder
14. Mechanical Bird - Harbour me
15. Samtidigt Som - Vid min sida
16. TALK 4
17. Wolfbrigade - Deny tomorrow
18. Dismember - Beyond good and evil
19. Marvins Revolt - Deliberate deeds
20. Timo Räisänen - Sweet Marie
21. TALK 5
22. Voices Break the Silence - This awful friend
Reminder: my show airs every week on Sundays and Mondays at 11pm ET on Sirius XMU. That's channel 26 on Sirius, 43 on XM and 831 for DirecTV subscribers.
Mechanical Bird are another BSBTA-affiliated band like the Dear Elaines, 'cept that these guys fare much better with the lofi/DIY sound. Intentions are a big factor, as this sounds much more like a product of circumstance than an aesthetic choice. In other words, they did the best they could with the equipment they have as opposed to deliberately trying to obfuscate the sound. It also helps that it's a heckuva lot easier to capture a lone singer/songwriter on tape than a full band so they've got that advantage as well. It's also worth noting that the packaging on this disc is superb. The drawings, printing and even the choice of paper stock are a perfect match to the music. As for the music itself? Paul Bredenberg's review describes it well. The vocals + acoustic guitar base place it in country/folk territory, but there's far more ambiance than one would usually expect. The opening bird sounds, the creaking and other background noises - it's all very evocative and helps to elevate the material above its peers. Not to mention the incredible display of restraint and, as Paul pointed out, precision. Well done.
According to the D'oorhinge L'Orange website, Mechanical Bird's sequel to 2005's "Manuskipt" was a three year effort. For a style of music as uncomplicated and rarely groundbreaking as this, that may not bode well. But songwriter Jakob Brixen recorded the songs by himself with the occasional guest, and the effort put into this album seems that of a perfectionist. "11 songs for perchers" is not quiet beauty, as one might describe most alt-country or folk, but ambience, melodrama, skill, and focused effort. The moody ambient sounds introducing each track slowly fade out and slide under the strumming acoustic guitars, personal lyrics, and occasional strolling drums, and contribute just as much to the album as the works themselves. Don't take this description and think the songs are slow and boring, there is a good amount of hidden energy within, but the energy is let out slowly, with the utmost precision and control, and a minimal amount of pretension. It is an impressive display of craftsmanship, if not entirely original in its concept. But what is anyway? - Paul Bredenberg
01. At the Gates - Suicide nation 02. TALK 1 03. Moving Oos - Stronger 04. Eskju Divine - Hold on 05. Mechanical Bird - Sunday 06. TALK 2 07. Mixtapes & Cellmates - Quiet 08. DS13 - Thrash lifestyle 09. Montt Mardié - Metropolis 10. Junior Senior - Can I get get get 11. TALK 3 12. Niccokick - Love & neon lights 13. Kristofer Åström - I collect knives 14. Death Breath - His protoplasmic worship 15. TALK 4 16. Mob - Ghost track 17. MZ412 - Unhealing wounds 18. Ugress - Manhattan sapphire 19. TALK 5 20. Shining - Låt oss ta allt från darandra 21. No Hope for the Kids - Rainy day 22. Moneybrother - Det blir ingen dans 23. Amandine - For all the marbles 24. TALK 6 25. Familjen - Det snurrar i min skalle 26. Last Days of April - Aspirins and alcohol 27. M:40 - När bomberna faller 28. TALK 7 29. Espen Jørgensen - The immaculate conception 30. Motorpsycho - For free 31. The Carny - Man under the sun 32. TALK 8 33. Karin Ström - Klaustrofobi 34. Badun - Pulsen 35. Meshuggah - Future breed machine 36. Värttinä - Mero 37. TALK 9 38. Randy - Better than art 39. Closer - Open casket 40. Alog - Buffalo demon 41. TALK 10 42. On Trial - Speaking of witch